In a major setback to tiger conservation efforts in Uttar Pradesh, three tigers have been found dead in the state’s jungles in the last three days, sending forest officials into a tizzy.
The carcass of an adult tiger was found late on Sunday in the Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary, part of the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR) in Lakhimpur Kheri district, around 130km from Lucknow.
“The body of the tiger, around four years old, was found along the patrolling route number 23 of the sanctuary,” said Jaswant Singh Kaler, a noted wildlife activist. Prima facie evidence suggests the death was a result of infighting with other tigers.
“The tiger’s spinal cord was broken, had abrasions on the rear and canine marks all over — all signs of a struggle,” said Ganesh Bhatt, deputy director of DTR. The carcass has been sent to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Bareilly for autopsy. Earlier, two other tigers were found dead on Friday and Saturday at the Haripur forest range in neighbouring Pilibhit district.
Officials suspect poachers might have poisoned the tigers. However, investigations are on to ascertain the exact cause of the deaths.
Eminent wildlife expert and convener of Terai Nature Conservation Society Vijay Prakash Singh blamed the three deaths on the ongoing tussle between forest authorities and forest dwellers over the right to forests in the region.